How to Make Joint Decisions without Conflict
By Phil and Maude Mayes
do you and your partner handle decision-making and problem-solving? For
most couples, these activities are often a source of tension and
conflict, rather than an opportunity for a creative experience
together. These sessions frequently feel like duels over who is right,
and produce little in the way of mutual satisfaction or inspired
would like to share our process for solving problems, making decisions
and coming to courses of action. Instead of tensions and feelings of
separation, it offers a wonderful experience of joint action. This
simple but effective process can be used by anyone, with often
astounding results. Try it out, and with a little practice, you will
find that a surprising transformation occurs.
this as a new kind of experience together, and embark on this path as a
shared adventure. Next time you and your partner have decisions to make
or a problem to solve, try out this process. Set the scene by making
sure both of you are comfortable, relaxed, and will not be hurried or
interrupted. It’s important that there be no time constraints, and that
you can give each other your full attention. Relax... empty your minds
of everything and prepare to enjoy yourselves!
the issue or problem you are considering. Fully share your thoughts and
ideas, speaking one at a time. Listen to your partner without
interrupting or doing any editing in your mind. It is really important
that you do not criticize your partner’s suggestions, but simply accept
them as their reality. Don’t be in a hurry to get to a particular place
with the discussion.
from the position that neither of you is steering the exchange to a
particular conclusion or is attached to a specific outcome; this will
quickly dissipate any feeling of tension. Stay in the present with each
other and don’t color your experience with preconceptions or
projections. You will quickly find the atmosphere is without charge
when there is no one pushing to be right.
listening to each other, actually listen, rather than waiting for the
moment when you can talk again about why your opinion is the correct
one.Neither of you needs to be concerned with ‘needing to be right’ or ‘who is right.’ You are both on the same side.
any situation there are many choices and outcomes. Often people lock
onto a view and cannot let go of it to allow another one in. After
having done this process for a while, we found that our responses to
each other’s input were almost exactly the opposite: we began to
eagerly hear the ideas and thoughts of the other. You will find that
you come to appreciate that the other person has different views and
ideas that expand the possibilities available to you.
not freeze-framing a specific expectation or outcome, you allow
something new and unexpected to happen. You will experience your
partner introducing a variety into life that would not otherwise be
there, and you will really begin to welcome change rather than
this point in the process something almost magical occurs. You will
find an element arising that is not the original thought or idea from
either of you. It is usually something better than either of you
brought to the topic. You will find that you have come together and
co-created something new without any experience of having compromised.
have been no trade-offs nor any sense of winning or losing. The answer
has grown out of the way you work together. It has come forth through
being wholly open and allowing something new to occur. There is a
special joy to be found in a course of action that is mutually chosen.
more you do this, the better you get at it, because you have the
accumulated experience of how good the results are each time. We have
found this process brings a delightful sense of peace and pleasure with
it. It is such a good feeling to experience the answers and solutions
that emerge. They are always so much more than either person had
style is something that can be cultivated. You can come from a place of
trust and respect that will enable you to find solutions that work for
both of you, rather than only for one or the other. While doing this,
seek for the positive and come from love. It feels much better than
manipulation or force or pressuring or anger or self-right-eousness or control or separation. We wish you much joy as you experience this process and the transformation it brings.
and Maude Mayes live in Santa Barbara, CA, having started in London,
England and New York City respectively. Phil is a software engineer and
photographer. Maude instructs adults with developmental disabilities
and owns a business importing and selling antique European linens and
laces. The striking difference between their marriage and previous
relationships caused much reflection and discussion between them, and
led them to write a book and ebook, “Secrets of a Successful Relationship Revealed,” available through Amazon and their website www.philandmaude.com